How are the ideas of grim and gloomy shown in Monster by Walter Dean Myers?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Grim and gloomy ideas are seen in the ending to Monster because there is no real sense of resolution. As the reader, we are not entirely certain if Stevie is "the monster" that the prosecution depicted. Even though he is found not guilty, there is no restoration. Miss O'Brien backs away, and there is not a transcendental notion of the good affirmed.  This contributes to the grim and gloomy aspect of the novel because the reader is left in uncertainty. Even Stevie himself is victim to this grim and gloomy construction when he says, "It was me who lay on the cot wondering if I was fooling myself."  The location of that uncertainty is close to a point where there is no moral or ethical order to the universe. There is only a sense that might makes right, which is grim and gloomy from an intellectual frame of reference.

The contours of the narrative feature a grim and gloomy construction.  The world that Stevie writes about is far from a hopeful one.  The life of urban America, the options facing children who must grow up in such a reality, and the consciousness that emerges through incarceration are all grim and gloomy states of being.  When Miss O'Brien tells Stevie that "You're young, you're Black, and you're on trial. What else do they need to know," it is a statement of grim and gloomy reality.  For children of color in America's urban center, life is grim and gloomy.  When Stevie's mother visits him in jail and he remarks that  "In a way I think she was mourning me as if I were dead," it is a reminder of the grim and gloomy reality that pervades the novel and a significant portion of American society.

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